Saving money when shopping just got easier: Here are eight things to look out for next time in you're in the supermarket.
As a business they're there to make money but some of the sneaky tactics used by the big shops today make Dastardly and Muttley look the good guys.
Yes, shops inject smells to entice you to want to buy more and it works. Supposedly at least, the sense of smell bypasses many parts of your brain's rational thinking to encourage impulse buying. While we wouldn't suggest popping down to your local supermarket wearing a clothes peg on your nose, just remember next time you smell that freshly baked bread or sizzling sausage it may just be a mutli-million pound marketing trick.
Paying more for less
Many foods will come in various sized packages and it's not always the case that bigger is always better: Sometimes two smaller sizes can be cheaper together than buying one larger. Always work out the price per gram.
It goes against the basics of business to give away your product for nothing so why do shops often have free samples? Well there's the obvious reason: to persuade you to buy some more but also a psychological reason. Free samples encourage the reciprocal response in our brain and make us feel like we owe something to the shop, and unsurprisingly that often comes in the form of an unneeded purchase.
If you've ever gone into a large supermarket for just a few essentials, say just some bread and milk, you'll probably find they're about as far apart as can be and that's a feature, not a bug. Common items are spread out to make sure you walk past more products, increasing your purchases.
Deals that just don't exist
That product may have a snazzy, bright and colourful label but what is the actual text telling you? A lot of the time there's simply no deal to be had so be warned: Always read the label carefully!
The eye level con
The most expensive items are placed at eye level (and when it comes to products like toys, that will of course be a kid's eye level) so be sure to look up and look down for a bargain rather than grabbing the first thing you see.
Music to make you buy
The music played in shops is also tactically decided: Slower tunes make you lag around the store, therefore spending more time looking at products and increasing the likelihood of a purchase. Furthermore, classical music has been shown to result in more expensive purchases.
Even with self-service tills, supermarkets are still littering their checkouts with point of sale opportunities such as sweets, chocolates and chewing gum in the hope of instant impulse buys. Resist the temptation!
Taking advantage of laziness
When it comes to fruit and veg you can usually but it in pre-packaged quantities or buy it loose by weight. Unsurprisingly, even for the exact same amount of product, the pre-packaged options are almost always more expensive and chances are contain far much more food than you'll ever eat before it goes off. Grab a plastic bag and buy exactly what you need!